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Commissioners approve plan to clean off radio tower

In an effort to improve the range of the pager system used by Grady County volunteer firefighters and address other communication issues the Grady County Commission Tuesday authorized the expenditure of $12,000 to pay for the required work.
Chris Dorsey, an agent with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation and Grady County resident, presented his recommendation for remediation of the radio tower on State Park Road.
Dorsey, on a volunteer basis, has been working with county officials to address radio communications issues following the narrow banding communications project mandated by the federal government.
During Dorsey’s recent inspection of the State Park Road tower he concluded that old system equipment that is no longer needed should be removed and the antenna used with the VFD paging system should be redirected.
Dorsey said his recommendations were based on his 24-plus years managing state of Georgia radio system tower sites and consultation with Motorola system engineers.
He told commissioners Tuesday night that three out-of-service VHF antennae and coax should be removed from the tower to reduce load and communication interference. Dorsey also recommends one out-of-service microwave dish be removed.
Dorsey also said that control boxes that operate the tower’s strobe lights should be relocated from the old equipment building on site to the new building constructed as  part of the narrow banding project. This will eliminate the need for the old building to be maintained and the facility and out-of-service equipment can be surplused.
Lastly, Dorsey recommended relocating the new paging system antenna from the west side of the tower to the east side.
Dorsey told commissioners he will volunteer his time to coordinate the work with Ross Tower of Tifton and First Communications of Thomasville to complete the remediation work.
Based on the quotes Dorsey received the total cost will be $12,000. Grady County Administrator Carlos Tobar said that $21,780.10 is available in the building and grounds repairs line item of the budget to fund the $12,000 project.
“We will realize a monthly savings by not having to maintain the old building and hopefully the pager reception in southeast Grady County will be improved by moving the antenna,” Tobar said.
Dorsey predicted additional “tweaking” would be necessary once the work is completed, but he said “good progress” has been made in updating the communications for local public safety organizations and Decatur-Grady 911.
Grady County Commissioner Charles Norton recognized Dorsey for his volunteer efforts to help with the county’s communications needs.
“Chris has saved us a lot of money and donated a lot of his time. I appreciate everything he has and continues to do,” Norton said.
During Dorsey’s recent inspection he also discovered that tower strobe on the southside is not currently operational. According to Tobar, that issue will also be addressed as part of the remediation.

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